By Derek Spellman
A Joplin teen who fired an assault rifle in Memorial Middle School and then aimed it at an administrator more than two years ago pleaded guilty to a pair of assault charges Friday.
Thomas White will be considered for the state’s dual jurisdiction program as part of a pending plea agreement with the Jasper County prosecutor. Also under the pending agreement, the 16-year-old White pleaded guilty to a companion charge of armed-criminal action, while two remaining felony charges would be dismissed.
Circuit Judge David Mouton on Friday said he would defer a final decision on the plea agreement until White’s sentencing hearing. White had previously been certified to stand trial as an adult.
White was charged with five felony counts after discharging an assault rifle inside Memorial Middle School on Oct. 9, 2006.
White, who was 13 at the time of the incident, is accused of firing the rifle once into the ceiling of a school hallway, pointing the weapon at an assistant superintendent and the school principal, and attempting to shoot the latter.
Police say the gun jammed after the firing of a single round into the ceiling because of an improperly seated ammunition clip. The school principal later ushered him out of the building.
White was to undergo a competency hearing Friday to explore whether he was mentally competent to assist in his own defense. A state psychiatrist evaluated White earlier this year and found him mentally incompetent to do so, prompting the Jasper County prosecutor to seek a second opinion.
But White, via his new defense attorney, Steven Hays, on Friday agreed that he had the capacity to understand the proceedings against him and assist in his own defense. He entered his guilty pleas shortly afterward while his mother, Norma White, looked on in the courtroom.
By Derek Spellman
- Joplin Metro
Longtime Democrat dies at 81
Sapp, 81, died Thursday. Funeral services were Monday at the First Presbyterian Church of Joplin. A longtime Jasper County Democratic committeewoman and volunteer, Sapp for years was secretary to the county’s central committee.
In City Council race, Joplin voters elect two newcomers, three incumbents
Joplin voters rejected two incumbents who voted to fire City Manager Mark Rohr, instead electing two newcomers and returning three incumbents to the City Council who had supported Rohr.
Joplin voters reject all three charter changes
The changes were placed on the ballot by the City Council acting upon recommendations by a Charter Review Commission that met last fall.
Three incumbents returned to Carl Junction posts
Voters in the Carl Junction area on Tuesday decided leadership positions on the Carl Junction School Board and City Council.
Two new faces, one incumbent win Joplin School Board seats
The top three vote-getters for open seats on the board were Debbie Fort, with 4,765 votes; Lynda Banwart, with 4,532 votes; and incumbent Randy Steele, with 3,300 votes, according to complete but unofficial results from Jasper and Newton counties.
Joplin voters reject curbside recycling
City voters in Jasper and Newton counties cast 3,835 "no" votes and 3,466 "yes" votes on the issue, according to complete but unofficial results.
PART TWO: Joplin City Council report documents continued
As a result of a court order obtained by the Globe against the City of Joplin, and Thursday's waiving of appeal by the City Council, we have received a copy of the Thomas Loraine investigation report that led to the firing of former city manager Mark Rohr. Documents are converted for digital viewing.
The amount of documentation we received is extensive, and testimonies are continued here.
PART ONE: Joplin Globe receives copy of investigation named in court order
As a result of a court order obtained by the Globe against the City of Joplin, and Thursday's waiving of appeal by the City Council, we have received a copy of the Thomas Loraine investigation report that led to the firing of former city manager Mark Rohr. As documents are converted for digital viewing, they will be uploaded here.
Council votes to waive appeal of court order, release full investigation
The Joplin City Council voted 6-3 Thursday night to waive an appeal of Judge David Mouton's ruling ordering the city to disclose the Rohr report and witness testimony in a controversial council investigation.
UPDATE: Police release name of murder victim; autopsy scheduled
Police have identified the man murdered in his apartment at the Housing Authority of Joplin complex as Jerry D. Loflin.
- More Joplin Metro Headlines
- Longtime Democrat dies at 81